Oklahoma House increase prison time for rape

Tuesday, April 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The state House passed legislation Monday that would stiffen the possible penalties for first-degree rape to include life without the possibility of parole.

One of the measure's authors, Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, said the legislation fills a loophole that permitted rape defendants to escape guaranteed life sentences.

The measure was filed in response to an Oklahoma County jury's unsuccessful request last fall to sentence a convicted rapist to life without parole. Ricky D. Bruner was convicted of nine felony counts including robbery, kidnapping, rape and assault.

The charges involved the brutal beating and rape of a waitress at the Oasis Club in Oklahoma City.

After the trial, the jury's foreman said jurors wanted to make a statement while issuing a life without parole sentence. But they could hand down nothing more than a life sentence, leaving open the possibility for parole.

``When it comes to brutal rapists, we should lock them up and throw away the key,'' Cargill said. ``Allowing juries to sentence rapists to life sentences, without the slightest chance they will be paroled, is definitely the right thing to do.''